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The World’s Biggest Donkey Lives In North Texas

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Back in October, Phil and Cara Yellott made a ‘big’ purchase, taking in animals that their former owner couldn’t afford to feed.

“I actually saw an advertisement for them for sale,” Cara said. “And it kind of tugged at my heart strings because they were way too thin.”

“And then we’re in the trailer and we’re like, ‘My God! They’re big!’” Phil recalled of his first view of their new animals.

They were two donkeys which they named Reemus and Romulus. But they aren’t just any donkeys. Especially Romulus.

“My friends Phil and Cara have a donkey they think might actually qualify to break the current world’s record for tallest living donkey in the world,” said Leah Patton who works with the American Donkey and Mule Society.

“Well, I’m 6′ 1″ and his withers come to right here,” Phil said as he leveled his arm from the top of Romulus’s shoulder to the bridge of his own nose.

“And the ears, they have an impressive ear span,” Cara said. “I haven’t measured it but its probably two or three feet.”

Just the size of the animals’ heads are enormous — as large as a human torso. The type of donkey was bred to be big so they will produce larger mules when cross bred with horses. In fact, George Washington is credited with with creating the breed in the United States. They’re called mammoth donkeys. But in a big breed, Romulus is a giant.

“We had them in the front paddock for a while and people were pulling over and knocking on the door wanting to see them,” Cara said. “It got to the point where it was a problem.”

The pair live in the back paddock of their property now out of sight of passing motorists.

Friday, the sight-seers were a veterinarian and a handful of people to witness Romulus being measured for his possible place in the record books.

“Lets just get the regular hand tape here,” the veterinarian said as she picked up a plastic tape measure divided into the hands, the unit of measure for horses and donkeys. A single hand is equivalent to four inches. The current world record is 63 inches, or 15.3 hands.

“Seventeen hands even!” the veterinarian proclaimed.

“68 inches tall!” a surprised Phil exclaimed.

That’s five feet six and a half inches tall. The average American male stands five feet nine inches.

“Its something to say, ‘You’ve got the world’s biggest ass!” Phil laughed. “Or a pair of them in this case.”

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